“Running helps me reach a meditative state”: devoted husband pledges to honour wife’s legacy by running the same half marathon every year in her memory
Shreeraj Laturia is a 42-year-old from Canary Wharf, where he works as a trader for an investment bank.
In December 2018, tragedy struck Shreeraj’s young family. On a short holiday break to Iceland, an accident saw their car plunge off a bridge. The crash claimed the lives of Shreeraj’s wife, Rajshree, and their newborn baby. Meanwhile, Shreeraj and his daughter sustained severe skull injuries.
As Shreeraj began a slow recovery from the trauma, he decided he would run the Royal Parks Half Marathon, the same race he and his wife had run together two months prior to the fatal accident.
Speaking of that run prior to the accident, Shreeraj said: “It was a joyful time. Rajshree had just given birth to a baby in January. She had picked up running through the maternity and ran for the Royal London Hospital. She was really glad to build strength to finish the Half Marathon.
“As I recovered [from the crash] gradually, I built strength and ran the race again in her memory in 2019. It was a challenge not having fully recovered from orthopaedic injuries.
“I have promised myself to keep her memory and dedication to a good cause alive and shall run this race every year. This race, for me, symbolizes the human spirit to keep alive positivity in the face of adversity and to keep going despite the circumstances."
Having been more academic than sporty whilst growing up, it wasn’t until much later in life that Shreeraj got into running.
“I was a bookworm as a school kid, never into sports. I discovered running only after seeing my colleagues train for the Royal Park Half Marathon in 2016. When I first started running, I couldn't even run a mile without gasping for a break. Regular running helped me build the rhythm and endurance.”
The sense of community you get with running appeals to Shreeraj, whilst he’s been grateful to be able to continue running during lockdown.
“Running helps me reach a meditative state. The best part of running – the camaraderie of the fellow runners - is simply incomparable. I have kept up with running 3-4 times a week throughout the lockdown and I think it has helped me escape depression.
To help prepare for the race, Shreeraj has had great support from his running club, East End Road Runners based in Newham, in the form of training plans, injury prevention advice and peer support.
“Even though the club runs haven't been possible this year, we attend some virtual physical training and yoga. We also run in pairs at the weekends. I have been averaging 55km per week in 3-4 sessions in a mix of speed and long distances.”
Fitting in training around a busy work and home life is a challenge Shreeraj has to manage carefully.
“As a single parent, work and home life has become a full on responsibility for me from 2019. With working/schooling from home, sometimes everything can feel confined and overwhelming.
“Running actually provides a respite for both me and my daughter from the monotony. I run very early in the mornings so it doesn't interfere with my dad-duties and I find paths empty as an added bonus!”
Shreeraj is fundraising for Royal London Hospital, the same cause his late wife ran for: “My family, like most of us in the UK have been beneficiary of the NHS care. I am a trustee of the Friends of Royal London Hospital and help with oversight and financial planning for the trust.”
To support Shreeraj’s cause, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shreeraj-laturia1